The ‘Best in Glass’-themed tasting packed out the upstairs function room at the Camden street venue for the afternoon with more than a few publicans present – unusual for a wine tasting, I thought, until I learned that the on-trade had been specifically targeted there being a huge variety of quality wines for them to adopt as house wines or as listed.
The wines were thoughtfully broken down into ‘Sparkling’, ‘New’, ‘The Classics’, ‘Mindful Wines’, ‘House Picks’, ‘Meet the Producer’ and ‘Best of the Rest’.
Over 70 wines from around the world were represented at the tasting including, for example, Champagnes and sparkling wines (the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee from Sussex in England got considerable attention), contemporary New World varietals such as Kung Fu Girl Riesling and Boom Boom Syrah from Charles Smith in Washington as well as the Chilean Garage Wine Company’s Single Ferment Pais.
Of course Old World varietals were present in abundance too – Legato Nero d’Avola and Statua Negroamaro from Italy for example.
But present too were some of the more abstruse newcomers – Chinese wines Chateau Changyu Moser XV, a White Cabernet Sauvignon from Ningxia and a Changyu Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon from the same provenance.
The Gilbeys with Bibendum tasting took place just a day or two before the news broke that Bibendum had joined with foodservice business Brakes in the UK to offer product and advice on wine list selection, merchandising and staff training.
Bibendum’s Chief Executive Michael Saunders, who was at the Irish tastings, told the UK licensed trade newspaper Publicans Morning Advertiser that people were not doing a good enough job on wine which had led to poor customer wine experience in the on-trade.
He didn’t blame the bar staff, he added, because when a customer asks what drink a bartender would recommend, “the last thing they’re going to suggest is a glass of wine because they can’t personalise it or put any theatre into it.
“They’ll have a gin and tonic and then it’s great, the customer asks what’s the gin, what’s the tonic and there’s interaction there.
“But if we can do it with gin, why can’t we do it with wine? I blame the supplier and I just think the onus is on us to work with partners to bring that to the fore,” he told the PMA.